April 23, 2014

Roxanne Ornelas


Click on photos for descriptions.

Assistant Professor of Geography and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
Miami University
216 Shideler Hall (Mail) (Ofc. location 227/228 Shideler Hall) 
Oxford, Ohio 45056
Tel: (513) 529-8356
Fax: (513) 529-1948
Email: ornelart@miamioh.edu


  • Ph.D. 2007, Geography, University of Minnesota

About Me

My research focuses on the culture and geographies of Indigenous peoples with emphasis in public policy, environment, sacred lands, and human rights. My position is a joint appointment with the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program and I am affiliate faculty with the Institute for the Environmental & Sustainability.


  • IES 274: Introduction to Environmental Principles & Sustainability
  • GEO 111: World Regional Geography
  • GEO 309, WGS 309: Native American Women
  • GEO 406/506, WGS 406: Indigenous Peoples and Their Sacred Lands
  • WGS 201: Introduction to Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Research in the Field

My research methodology of choice is in the trenches ethnographic participant observation. Throughout my graduate student years to today, I have travelled thousands of miles under all sorts of interesting conditions to find the answers to my questions. I have camped out near my research site in a major thunderstorm along the Missouri River in the Great Plains. I have spent many hours digging through decades of archival materials at state and federal governmental institutions hoping to find that one piece of historic gold.

My work with Indigenous women has demonstrated the importance of including cultural traditions as a way to build and nurture community, with special focus being placed on the Earth’s environment and the health of the seventh generation from today. I have walked in those places that are known to be sacred lands for many tribes. There is no question that I have felt the specialness of those places. These types of research experiences continue to inform my classroom teaching.

Selected Publications

  • Ornelas, R.T. (2014). Implementing the Policy of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 5(1). Retrieved from: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol5/iss1/4
  •  Ornelas, R.T. (2013). Considering the Heritage of Place in Consultation with Indigenous Peoples. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, 36, 55-63.
  •  Ornelas, R.T. (2013). International Treaties Models for Transparency in Governance. The Public Administration Times, International, 36(1), 5. Washington, DC: American Society for Public Administration.
  •  Ornelas, R.T. (2013). Photography, “Mother and child going to the Deer Dance, Cochiti Pueblo Indian Reservation, New Mexico.” National Indian Child Welfare Association, Culture Matters campaign. Portland, OR: NICWA.
  •  Ornelas, R.T. (2012). We Walk for the Water: A Case Study on the Geographies of Indigenous Peoples. Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences, 35, 280-288.
  •  Ornelas, R. T. (2011). Managing the Sacred Lands of Native America. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 2(4). Retrieved from: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol2/iss4/6
  • Ornelas, R.T. (2011). Water and the Indigenous Women’s Leadership Project. The Journal of Research on Women and Gender, 2, 111-134.